Call for Collaborative and Pilot Project Applications – Development of Sample Sparing Assays Program – Infrastructure and Opportunities Fund

November 15, 2019


The Development of Sample Sparing Assays (DSSA) Program – Infrastructure and Opportunities Fund (IOF) is now accepting applications for Collaborative and Pilot Projects focused on practical approaches to extract in-depth information on immune status from small tissue or blood samples.

Collaborative and Pilot Project funding is intended to foster novel/early ideas within and outside awarded Centers, to develop or incorporate new technologies as they become available, and to encourage collaborations among members of different Centers and between the Centers and investigators within and outside the U.S. The use of Collaborative and Pilot Projects permits maximum flexibility to advance in exciting research directions that seem most scientifically fruitful and allows for a greater element of risk than is permitted in standard NIH funding opportunities. Projects must be within the scope of the original Development of Sample Sparing Assays for Monitoring Immune Responses RFA.

For more detailed information on the eight centers involved, please see links below.

ISB DSSA Center  (James R. Heath, Ph.D., Principal Investigator)

Application Instructions

Proposals should be sent by March 15, 2020 to the IOF Chief Administrative Officer (IOF-CAO), Kim Murray (, and should consist of all items below, assembled in the order listed and in a single PDF document. Applicants concerned about document security may contact the IOF-CAO for optional file encryption instructions.

  1. Face Page
  2. Abstract (30 lines)
  3. Specific Aim and Milestone (one page limit)
  4. Research Plan: Background/Preliminary Results/Research Design & Methods (two page limit including figures; 11 point Arial font)
  5. References Cited
  6. Detailed budget for one year (may use NIH format)
  7. Budget justification (one year only)
  8. NIH format Biosketch (including other support) for key personnel
  9. Resources and Equipment
  10. Protection of Human Subjects, if applicable
  11. Details of Vertebrate Animal Research, if applicable
  12. Letters of support (optional)
  13. Completed checklist

Proposals will be evaluated using standard NIH scoring criteria (Significance, Investigators, Innovation, Approach, and Environment), with weighting given to both innovation and significant translational impact: 1) in the context of potential contribution to the overall goals of the DSSA Program, and 2) in the field of the proposed research. Note that your research plan should also address the NIH requirements concerning rigor and reproducibility.

Copies of approved IACUC, IRB Protocols, and Informed Consent Forms will be requested, as appropriate, from projects selected for funding on a “just-in-time” basis. Award recipients are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.



The maximum award is $100,000 (direct costs) for Collaborative Projects and $60,000 (direct costs) for Pilot Projects.

A Collaborative Project is a project involving two or more funded groups from within the DSSA. The best collaborative projects will be programs in which the sum of what the participating groups can accomplish within a one-year time frame is greater than what any one group can do alone. Competitive proposals will leverage off of new findings and new technology advances from within the DSSA program and will propose a new research direction with a single specific Aim that can be advanced through to a proof-of-principle demonstration in one year.

Pilot Projects are projects involving investigators outside funded DSSA programs. Junior investigators are especially encouraged to apply, and will be given preference. Competitive proposals will be centered around a single Specific Aim that is directed at a DSSA program goal and that leverages off of findings and/or resources and/or unique research infrastructure from within the program.

Funding will be awarded for one year only.

Per NIH guidelines, pilot project budgets may not include subcontracts.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs will be awarded at organizational rates. Per NIH guidelines, the F&A rate for non-US applicants is capped at 8 percent.



Potential applicants with questions may contact the IOF-CAO via email at